Sunday 18th October, 2015

Welcome to everyone joining us for our monthly service of celebration this morning at St Matt’s. At this service we bring our “sacrifices” (gifts) of praise and thanksgiving to God, for all that he is doing in and through our community and especially for all that he has done for us in Jesus.

Especially today we will do that in two ways, both of which are rich in symbolism and meaning.

Firstly, we will celebrate the Baptism of Claire To daughter of Maggie & Jimmy To and granddaughter of Terrie & Chris Crook. (Welcome to everyone joining us for this very special day). Baptism symbolizes a new start. Dying to self and living for Jesus. When a small child is baptized, we might well ask, “What part of herself does Claire need to “die” to?”

Well, as I was explaining to my grade 4/5/6 SRI class this week, sadly all of us do, like Adam & Eve did and choose to live contrary to God’s plan for our lives. We think we know better. Claire would hardly be conscious of this at her age but beautiful and innocent as she is, she will grow up to be like the rest of us. Wisely therefore, her parents are acknowledging her need to choose to follow Jesus. So today symbolizes the beginning of a journey which they will start her on and lead her in her understanding of who Jesus is and all that he has done for her.

Which is what our second symbol reminds us of today.

The Lord’s Supper reminds us that when Jesus died on the cross, he did it for Claire and for all of us. His body broken and shed blood were the supreme self-sacrifice which turned sin on its head. The sin (or rebellion against God) which drives our self-centredness is reversed & paid for. It obviously did not come cheaply. It came at the cost of the most amazing, loving, wonderful man who ever lived. The only one who was worthy to make the sacrifice because of his own sinless life.

And the only one who was and is God. This was God saying I’ll pay the debt myself. I love them so much I’ll give up my earthly life that they all might have eternal life.

Which means we have freedom to come into his presence today, and every day, guilt-free. We can run into his loving arms, as it were, and say, in effect, “I love you daddy, please forgive me, I want to live for you”.

So when we eat bread and drink wine today, we don’t eat death, we embrace true life – forgiven, cleansed and included in God’s family.

God bless,   Ian.